Language: Mandarin Chinese
Source: Period dictionary


Gōng diànzi (弓墊子) literally means "bow cushion".1

In English this part is called the "string bridge". Its purpose is to lift the string somewhat from the ear. When pulling the bow, the initial draw weight buildup is quite steep, until the bow is bent far enough so that the string leaves the bridge. Now the ear comes into play that helps bend the working limbs, and there is the perception of a smoother draw. Upon release, the opposite happens and when the string hits the bridge there will be a quick "snap", and an extra push into the arrow.

A higher string bridge can further increase the effective angle of the ear, helping in the draw. A wider bridge can help prevent the string from slipping past the ear. This is why you typically see very wide bridges on strength bows, that are pulled at the max of one's capabilities and thus misalignment is to be expected.

During the Qing dynasty, string bridges were typically made of antler. Wood is also encountered.



Bridge on a Qing bow

A deer antler string bridge on a Qing dynasty bow.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2018.


String bridge of Qing bow

The string knot resting on the string bridge of a Qing bow.
Sold by Mandarin Mansion in 2016.

Other bow parts

Qing bow glossary




Pinyin transliteration




1. Bow grip 弓弝 Gōngbà
2. Sides of bow grip 弓弝膀子 Gōngbà bǎngzi
3. Arrow slipping spot 箭溜子 Jiàn liūzi
4. Bow ear 弓弰 Gōng shāo
5. Tip 弰頭 Shāo tóu
6. String notch 扣子 Kòuzi
7. String bridge 弓墊子 Gōng diànzi
8. Bow knee (lit. "brain") 弓腦 Gōng nǎo
9. Painted birch bark 畫樺皮 Huà huà pí
10. Bow face 弓面 Gōng miàn
11. Bowstring 弓弦 Gōng xián
12. Bowstring knot 弦挌搭 Xián gé dā


All terms are from: Wuti Qingwen Jian (五體清文鑑) or "Five languages compendium", a Qing imperial dictionary in Manchu, Mongolian, Uighur, Tibetan, and Chinese of circa 1790. Published under the Qianlong emperor.

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With a golden damascened lock of the Indo-Portuguese type.


Very good example with a finely carved warrior scene.


Probably of Southern origin, with a straight blade and flaring tip.


In the style of northern work of the 16th and 17th centuries


A standard pattern Qing military saber, but with the rare addition of a label in Manchu.


Of classic shape, with a leaf-shaped blade on a socket, connected by a cast bronze base.